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TAW presents upbeat twist on Shakespeare classic

Brian Harward staff writer

With hip-hop currently trending on Broadway, led by the wildly popular “Hamilton,” Theater Arts Workshop’s (TAW) performance of the rap-heavy “Bomb-Itty of Errors” is a timely twist on Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors.”

Although rap-influenced musicals are extremely popular now, the concept of using hip-hop in musicals is nothing new.

“‘Hamilton’ was a huge influence [on choosing “Bomb-itty of Errors], but also, I saw this play off of Broadway 17 years ago, so this concept isn’t new,” Karen Chandler, director of the play, said.

One benefit of a soundtrack that features heavy hip-hop use is that the presence of rhyming schemes make lines easier to memorize.

“In a lot of cases, having every two lines in couplet makes it really easy, it’s just about knowing the first and last word of each line,” senior Daniel Kohanbash, who plays Antipholus of Ephesus, said.

This is the first time that TAW has presented a play featuring heavy rap for its Shakespeare play. The new, distinct style of the musical has made the cast bond.

“I think it’s been a great first play, because we can always learn from each other with a show…it’s also a good way to bring a bond between the audience to the actors, because it’s such a fun show to follow along with,” senior Josh Coone said.

Chandler felt that this class was perfect for a play that would feature more hip-hop and less specific choreography.

“You don’t do this type of play without the right kids; their skill set is so high in memorization and creativity,” Chandler said. “It’s not the type of show where a director can tell you how to move every second…you have to have some basic intuitions and abilities.”

However, the talented cast still had to work hard to learn the hundreds of lines of fast, seemingly effortless rap that the play demanded.

“We’ve been prepping for the show with tracks of the actual raps [from the Broadway soundtrack],” Kohanbash said.

The plot, much of which is told over a hip-hop beat, follows two sets of identical twins who are separated at birth. The sets of twins end up reuniting in the town of Ephesus, and the ensuing confusion creates heated conflict as well as moments of humor.

“I think that it’s really cool to perform this new adaptation because it’s easier to understand,” senior Lauren Aviram, who plays Adriana, said. ”Hopefully it will keep our audience engaged and pull in a larger audience.”

After a summer and four weeks of hard work, the cast is excited to showcase their hip-hop skills for an audience.

“I’m excited to see the outcome,” Kohanbash said. “It’s really starting to come together, and the outcome is going to be really good I think.”

TAW will present the show at the Salter Theater from Thursday, Sept. 14 through Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7:00 p.m. There will also be an additional performance on Monday, Sept. 18 at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 with ASB and $10 without.

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